Corruption-free Delhi: New challenge for AAP Chief Minister Kejriwal!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
(BJP and Congress are not impressed by the fact that Kejriwal is still adamant about anti-corruption agenda and does not allow bureaucrats to promote corruption as the usual state policy. They believe without encouraging corruption there cannot be any developments)
An intense power struggle is going on in Delhi over who should control a state like Delhi with an elected government – Chief minster or Lt Governor? While BJP sources quote the constitution, the top lawyers of the Supreme Court support the CM in choosing Principal Chief Secretary.
Delhi’s Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung appointed by the previous Congress led UPA government and the elected government led by AAP’s Aam Admi Party seem to continue their power struggle even after the people of Delhi state gave an overwhelming majority to rule the state by protecting its genuine state interests as well as the interests of Delhiites, especially the common people of the Indian capital to which Kejriwal and his AAP government are duty bound to commit themselves.
In order to defend the Delhi state’s ambition to become a full fledged state of India as well as Delhiites, as per the poll pledges, Delhi CM assumed the role of an agitational CM, instead of enjoying the powers and privileges that go with the CM post, as being advised by BJP and Congress party – both want Kejriwal to adopt a friendly posture to get things done for Delhi from central government. .
Since BJP has lost face in Delhi poll soon after its landslide parliamentary victory and is eager to discredit the AAP government and Kejriwal. And hence the centre is using Lt Governor of Delhi, who is one of a few governors the BJP has not sacked so far upon coming to power in the country last year Perhaps in order to save his job in Delhi Lt Governor Jung tries to fight with AAP government which has become a painful thorn in the throats of both Congress and BJP.
BJP and Congress are not impressed by the fact that Kejriwal is still adamant about anti-corruption agenda and does not allow bureaucrats to promote corruption as the usual state policy. They believe without encouraging corruption there cannot be any developments.
During the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) first stint, Jung had advised the Delhi assembly speaker against allowing the tabling of the Jan Lokpal Bill, saying the bill did not have the required clearance for introduction. However, AAP had gone ahead and tabled it. Recently, Kejriwal issued directions to ministers and senior officials of Delhi government not to send files pertaining to police, public order and land to Jung’s office.
After the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the AAP had accused Jung of acting at the behest of BJP government at the Centre when he did not heed to Kejriwal’s demand of dissolving the state assembly. In November last year, Jung had recommended to the President dissolution of the assembly after the BJP, AAP and the Congress had expressed inability to form government and preferred holding of polls. Assembly polls were held in Delhi in February and AAP got the largest majority in Delhi state history.
The latest round in the duel between the CM and the L-G began on May 13 when four officers were shortlisted for the chief secretary’s job during the period Sharma was on leave. As per rules, financial commissioner Naini Jayseelan, the senior-most officer, was approved by Sharma as his replacement. However, the Kejriwal government decided to overrule three of the proposed four officers and added the name of 1985 batch officer Parimal Rai, who was awaiting a posting after returning from Goa a fortnight ago. The Kejriwal government said the choice for interim chief secretary should be between Smt. Shakuntala Gamlin and her junior by one year, Rai.
Routing conflict with central government is seen by many as a problem of AAP. Some people ask Kejriwal, if he really wants to run government or just keeps blaming the centre every time. Kejriwal has to introspect a lot more and mature in his behavior. While his intentions may be great, if he intends to be in politics for a long time then he has to learn to get on and work with everyone. It may appear courageous to confront everyone at each and every step, but in the present world working together and gaining people’s confidence will work much more than only confrontation. But most Delhiites feel this is the best way to run a Government. “We the people of Delhi elected AK. He is fighting for us. We support him completely. He has not looted 1 penny of our money like BJP & Congress”.
Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung ordered the appointment of Shakuntala Doley Gamlin as interim chief secretary of Delhi on May 15. Jung appeared to have won the latest, ugly round in the continuing spat with Kejriwal. Gamlin, a 1984-batch IAS officer and wife of the late Arunachal Pradesh CM Jarbom Gamlin, will function as the top Delhi bureaucrat until May 24, when chief secretary KK Sharma returns from the US, where he is on leave. A spokesperson for the Kejriwal government said that in appointing Gamlin, Jung had bypassed the elected government, the chief minister and deputy chief minister, and that he did not have the extraordinary powers to do so. “The government of NCT of Delhi had certain reservations about the conduct of Smt. Shakuntala Gamlin… She was perceived to be extremely close to electricity companies in Delhi and was lobbying for their interests within the government,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The latest instructions came after the Lieutenant Governor wrote to the Delhi Government saying its decision to remove an officer appointed by the Kejriwal government and appoint another were “void” as he had not cleared them. The acrimonious back-and-forth began last week over Jung’s unilateral decision to promote IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin as acting chief secretary, making her Delhi’s top bureaucrat. Kejriwal has vehemently opposed the move, alleging that Ms Gamlin has tried to favour power distribution companies in Delhi and acted against public interest. He declared that he would keep close tabs on the officer in the 10 days that she would act as Chief Secretary.
Governor Jung has sought to assert his authority by directing top officials to route all important files through him as per constitutional framework and laid down procedures. The L-G also made it clear that the role of the CM and the council of ministers was to aid and advise him, while he was entitled to act solely on his own discretion.
In a circular late on May 18, Kejriwal said that for smooth functioning, “it is hereby ordered that any direction or order, whether oral or written, received from Honorable LG or his office to the Chief Secretary or any administrative Secretary, shall first be submitted by the concerned administrative Secretary/Chief Secretary on the file to the Minister in charge and the Chief Minister for a decision.” Earlier this month, Kejriwal had told his officers to route every file through his office and “not bother” the Lieutenant Governor for every decision. AAP accuses Jung, who reports to the Centre, of acting on behalf of the ruling BJP.
Reacting to the controversy, both the BJP and the Congress attacked the Kejriwal government, accusing it of trying to undermine the L-G’s authority. The confrontation came in the backdrop of a series of conflicts between the Jung and CM Kejriwal’s government.
In his weeks-long battle with L-G Najeeb Jung over issues ranging from police matters to civil servant appointments, BJP says Arvind Kejriwal is on somewhat shaky legal ground. Article 239 of the Constitution clearly states that the Legislative Assembly of Delhi shall not have power to make laws relating to subjects such as public order, police and land. “In the case of appointment of chief secretary, commissioner of police, state home secretary and secretary (land), it is the LG who has the power. To assert his authority, the CM quoted a provision of the Transaction of Business Rules that says the L-G should, in matters of public order, police and land, consult the CM – but this can be mandated only if the president issues orders to this effect under Article 239. In case the L-G felt that a bureaucrat was being victimized, he could intervene as the Centre was the cadre-controlling authority. A September 24, 1998 notification issued by the Union Home Ministry too supports the LG. The notification said “The Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, shall in respect of matters connected with ‘Public Order’, ‘Police’, and ‘Services’ exercise the power and discharge the functions of the Central Government, to the extend delegated from time to time to him by the President, in consultation with the Chief Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.”
PM Modi who refuses to expose those Indians involved in money laundering and have kept illegal money abroad, seems to be so close to Adani and Ambani? BJP has no problems with billion USD loan to Adani group, favors to electricity comps. Media lords have no problem with so many scams from congress era not proceeding anywhere. No problem with Jailalita coming out clean! No problem with Lalu convicted but still out.
When a government is elected by the people of Delhi constitutionally with a thumping and unprecedented majority, it is to be respected and the government is to be allowed to function. Now centre is interfering with their agent the LG and telling the people the constitutionally the LG is the manager. Then what is the need for elections in UTs let the LG rule the UTs. Why waste public money for conducting elections?
Kejriwal has cited rules under the Constitution, which, he alleged, the Lieutenant Governor had bypassed. “Delhi has an elected government. Earlier governments surrendered, we won’t,” said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. “There is no provision granting the LG the power to act at his own discretion in the matter of appointment of the chief secretary,” said a legal expert and former Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising.
Kejriwal and AAP have declared that Jung has no say in such appointments and has overstepped his turf by unilaterally appointing Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary. Kejriwal alleges that Ms Gamlin tried to favour power distribution companies in Delhi and acted against public interest. He has declared that he would keep close tabs on the officer in the 10 days that she would act as Chief Secretary. The LG stepped way out of his Constitutional duty. He is responsible for the crisis. He should resign,” said senior Supreme Court lawyer Rajiv Dhawan
Senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called Delhi’s “experiment” with AAP a “costly” one and said: “AAP has such a huge mandate, they must understand their responsibility and that people want governance, not controversies and disputes.
As conflict gets hotter in the capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has instructed bureaucrats not to follow any order from Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung without running it by him, as a raging power struggle between the capital’s two top men reaches President Pranab Mukherjee’s doorstep. As the standoff finds no headway, the Lieutenant Governor has met the President and is believed to have discussed his fight with the Delhi Government over his decision to appoint IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin as acting chief secretary. The Chief Minister also has an appointment in the evening.
CM Kejriwal will meet and discuss what he calls blatant overreach by the Lieutenant Governor in his meeting with the President this evening. AAP has also said Kejriwal will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
CM Kejriwal is determined to obtain full statehood for Delhi state and his actions are directed towards that constructive end. Supported by BJP, the Congress led UPA government had created a new state called Telengana by bifurcating erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and one wonders what will India lose if Delhi is made a full-fledged state so that the elected state government can deliver the election promises given to people without depending on the central government or governor that put spanner into wheel of state governance.
Obviously, the central government does not want to see a corruption free Delhi state government does not want make India corruption free people’s democracy that would work for common people.
In order to put to end government vs. governor standoff, Delhi state needs to become a full state and AAP could launch a small scale agitation to press the central government and obtain full statehood for Delhi.
BJP like Congress party is sore from Delhi defeat as they had put all their muscle behind these elections. Modi has failed; his pet project Jan Dhan Yojana has 75% dormant accounts. Kejriwal is breezing through his poll promises and that what scares BJP and Congress. Indeed Kejriwal is the future. People need to see clearly and decide.